ORANGE WALK TOWN, Thurs. Oct. 5, 2017–Edwin Hernan Castillo, 38, may spend the remainder of his life in the Belize Central Prison for the murder of his friend, Javier Ack, 27.
During the Northern Session of the Supreme Court on Tuesday, he appeared before Justice Herbert Lord for sentencing. Lord sentenced him to life in prison and indicated that he must serve 25 years before applying for parole.
Castillo, who has been imprisoned since 2012, still has to serve 19 years and 9 months before he can apply for freedom.
On the night of June 14, 2012, Edwin Castillo, his uncle Florencio Castillo, Amir Garcia, the deceased, and two other men, were socializing at an open lot in Yo Creek, Orange Walk District. An argument started between Ack and Garcia, which the others quelled.
Minutes after, Castillo walked a few feet away from them and seized a machete that had been on the bar of Garcia’s bicycle. Castillo allegedly then stabbed Ack in the left side of the chest, piercing his heart.
Castillo was subsequently charged with murder.
When the matter went to trial, from May 8 to May 25 of this year, the prosecution, led by Shanidi Chell, admitted to evidence witness statements from Amir Garcia, Iran Gongora, and Florencio Castillo.
When the trial was called, only Garcia testified in court, because Gongora became a hostile witness and Castillo had died from natural causes.
However, based on recent amendments to the Evidence Act, the statements of Gongora and Castillo were admitted as evidence.
In his defense, the accused, Edwin Castillo, who was represented by attorney Oscar Selgado, told the court that he was not the one who murdered Ack. He claimed that his uncle, the deceased Florencio Castillo, had committed the crime.
But the court did not accept his allegation, and on August 9, Edwin Castillo was found guilty of murder.
Interestingly, during sentencing on Tuesday, the accused changed his mind about his late uncle committing the crime and instead fingered Garcia as Ack’s murderer.
The prosecutor, Shanidi Chell, today told Amandala that amendment no. 22 of 2017 Criminal Code completely repealed and replaced section 106, therefore making it possible for persons sentenced to life imprisonment to one day qualify for parole.